The iPhone Cycle: Mash the Gas to Accelerate

Horace Dediu:

So we are witnessing a pivotal moment in the product’s strategy. By slightly lifting off the gas in terms of product cycle, Apple actually set the iPhone loose. The imposition of a yearly cycle on the product coupled with unlimited demand caused it to be artificially constrained.

Don’t forget, the iPhone 3GS is still in production and has been since June 19, 2009. Apple has been selling the iPhone 3GS, specifically the 8GB version, for over two years.

With the introduction of the iPhone 4, Apple discontinued the 16GB and 32GB versions of the 3GS, and dropped the 8GB price to $99. Early January 2011, Apple dropped the price further to $49. With each price drop iPhone 3GS sales probably increased. Price could hit $0 and sales might rocket up even more.

The GSM iPhone 4 was released June 24, 2010. It’s been 392 days. The CDMA iPhone 4 was released February 10, 2011 (161 days). The white iPhone 4 was released April 28, 2011 (84 days). For almost the entire last quarter Apple has been selling five distinct iPhone models (two colors each for GSM and CDMA, 3GS). I would consider this mashing the gas.

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